The four issues that the country must address to achieve Mexican leadership in manufacturing are technology, knowledge, sustainability, and talent. Successfully dealing with each of these items will ensure that Mexico is at the vanguard of global manufacturing.
At the beginning of 2017, there were doubts regarding the continuing growth and sustainability of Mexican leadership in manufacturing. These concerns were eliminated, however, when industry registered a 3.4% overall growth for the year. This figure was especially significant because, during 2017, the manufacturing sector in Mexico comprised 23.1% of the country’s GDP.
Due to the level of activity in the aerospace, automotive, medical device and general manufacturing industries, Mexican leadership in manufacturing in Latin America has been and is being maintained. In large part, the country’s success in this area is the product of its geographic position and the vast network of free trade agreements that it has built during the last few decades.
A competitive advantage and continued Mexican leadership in manufacturing is contingent upon a variety of factors. These include the country’s ability to adapt to new technologies and the latest innovations. More importantly, however, Mexico’s success will be contingent upon supporting initiatives and activities that address four key areas. They are:
1. Investment in Technology and R & D:
Over the last several decades new technologies generated by R & D activities have revolutionized the manufacturing sector. Especially prominent has been newly utilized means of accessing data through the Internet and computer technologies. In order to maintain Mexican leadership in Manufacturing, the country must continue to enable systems that enable members of an increasingly trained workforce to connect to machines, sensors and computers in a more precise and efficient way. Additionally, and also of great importance, Mexican investment in areas such as advanced materials must be a focus. Advanced materials allow manufacturers to reduce the weight of key elements and products that are produced.
2. Knowledge and Learning:
As Mexican leadership in manufacturing is maintained, it is important that, as functions and capacities expand, professionals in the sector keep current with regard to new and emerging technologies, techniques, and functions. A deep understanding of these will allow companies’ leadership to optimize productivity and to identify problems before they arise, thus enabling firms to maintain an edge over their competitors. According to the Manufacturing Leadership Council (MLC), “manufacturers are already applying automatic learning protocols to the data that is generated throughout productions such as detailed piece quality information, product testing data, and field performance data.” This is all being done to isolate and to solve quality problems and their underlying causes.
In order to maintain Mexican leadership in manufacturing, companies must identify new ways to care for and maintain their resources. Due to the finite nature of many of these resources companies will, by necessity, have to become more and more sustainable every day. Part of this move towards greater sustainability is illustrated by the increasing use of renewable energy technologies. The use of renewable energy will not only be good for companies that utilize it, but will also benefit the communities in which they reside and operate.
4. Training of Human Resources:
Companies are only as good as the human resources that they employ. Mexican leadership in manufacturing will only be sustained if efforts are made to increase the knowledge of the country’s workforce through increased training and education. This will result in companies growing together with their employees by creating a stimulating, consistent, and positive work environment.
Technology, knowledge, sustainability, and talent are simple but yet complex areas that need to be addressed both now and in the future so that Mexican leadership in manufacturing is maintained. Given past experience, however, it is certain that Mexico, and its productive sector, will continue to make efforts to address these critical issues.